You will doubtless be aware that the Front Row (or FROW if you read Grazia) is the most exclusive place to be seen at fashion week, and is – for absolute Grade A people watching – far more compelling viewing than the catwalk. At no other time would you get to see Anna Wintour, Phillip Green, Kanye West and a 15 year old blogger with a feathered pineapple on their head shoehorned onto one bench like a bunch of strange netball reserves.
All the other rows are much less fabulous, since they can only be reached with a sideways late-to-the-cinema shuffle, which is a special kind of challenge when most of the occupants (men included) are wearing 7 inch heels. Though I spent most of my time on the back row – or BROW in the spirit of Grazia – there were a few moments in the dizzy heights of 3, and I even hit the big time at John Rocha with a 2, where I was within spitting distance of the Editor of Vogue. I did not spit on her. Here I am on the BROW at Mulberry, you can just see me at the back, to the right of my colleague Robyn with the glasses:
The trouble with spending your time on the BROW is you can’t see any of the outfits properly from the waist down, unless you’re in possession of a periscope, which I wasn’t (poor preparation). I therefore have no idea what next season’s shoe / knee trends are, though if you’re in the market for some specialist waist-up fashion forecasting, I am your woman.
On the same token, should you wish to fake a front row status at fashion week, it’s best to talk non-stop about the shoes:
‘Did you make it to Giles?’
‘Oh yes. Fabulous show. Fabulous (you say, lighting up a Vogue menthol and waving it about) Loved, loved, loved the shoes’
‘Yes, they had these beautiful miniature bows. About a 1mm wide. Tiny. On the inner heel. Gorgeous’
One of my favourite Fashion editors once wrote that the ‘anything goes’ mantra is nonsense, and that dressing for fashion week is a fraught and stressful process. I would disagree, but with one crucial caveat – anything really does go, as long as it’s not (gasp!) normal. In broader terms, you have three options:
- Showcase a perfectly planned trend-by-numbers capsule wardrobe (snag: you need a bit of cash for this)
- Dress head-to-toe in black and hope for the best
- Look insane
It might not be fair, but by this logic Kirsty Allsop’s Sister made more of a faux pas by pitching up at Jasper Conran in jeans and a Boden twinset than the Japanese male blogger in the long green skirt and fur crown. I took the all-black option, reasoning that in an emergency I could always pass myself off as one of the Somerset House bar staff.
4) WRONG SEATS
I sat in the wrong seat at Emilio de La Morena. I say ‘wrong seat’, I actually had a standing ticket so technically all the seats were wrong for me: ‘Excuse me Madame. You’re sitting in my seat’ said a suited Italian man, tapping me on the shoulder. By the indignant-embarrassed look on his face you could tell he was having an inner struggle between his sense of fashion week one-upmanship and the blatant anti-chivalry of kicking a girl out of her seat in plain view of at least 150 other women.The fashion week one-upmanship won over and I was ejected to scuttle back to a standing spot by the door. Back in my place.
At Topshop I had a Standing * ticket, which is marginally better than a plain old Standing ticket, by virtue of the teeny tiny asterisk. This little star meant we didn’t need to queue, and our standing spots were picked out at least ten minutes ahead of the normal standing people. You know you’re into a hierarchical business when even the standing people are marginalised. I did wonder if there was a Standing (-) ticket which allowed you to come in only if you promised to stand at the very back. With your eyes closed.
5) EXCITED BAD IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY
I am not cool enough to see Kate Moss whisk past in double denim and not to try and get a shot of it, at any blurry costs. So, without further ado…. Here is Kate Moss!
These sound very posh, but they’re actually just a cut-price alternative to a fashion show, which cost around £100 000 to put on. No, I’ve no idea where it goes either, but it’s not on backstage catering that’s for sure (the average fashion week model is so thin, you could post her to Hong Kong for less than 50p). This presentation I went to featured models in animal masks. I feel like this model drew the short straw:
You can just imagine them divvying it up beforehand:
Model: Look, I get that it’s animal prints and everything, but do we really need the masks?
Model 2: It’s to cement the theme
Model: And why am I the baboon? Do I already look a bit like a baboon? Is that it?
Model 2: No of course not. It’s… Completely random
Model: That’s alright for you to say, you got the tiger, tigers are cool and sexy. Baboons are not.
7) ICE CREAM
At least they could console themselves here, at the Mulberry ice cream stand. Now that’s a trend I’m definitely on board with: